IRVING, Texas — Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent retired from football at the age of 25 on Thursday, saying “doing the right things in life” is more important as he prepares to defend himself against a manslaughter charge in the drunken-driving crash that killed a teammate.
Brent said he had “given a lot of thought” to his decision. His football career has been on hold since the Dec. 8 crash that killed Jerry Brown, a practice squad player, college teammate and close friend.
“I am at a point where my main focus is all about getting the priorities in my life in order,” Brent said in a statement provided by the team. “Those priorities are more important than football. Doing the right things in life are more important than football. I love the game very much. I love my teammates, but this is the right thing for me to do.”
Brent is charged with intoxication manslaughter and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted, though he also could get probation. Suburban Dallas police accused Brent of driving with a blood-alcohol content more than twice the legal limit the night of the crash.
He has also tested positive twice for marijuana while out on bond, and was briefly jailed after the second test. He is again out on bond, but under stricter conditions that include monitoring for drugs and alcohol, and is banned from driving.
Owner Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett both said they supported Brent’s decision to focus on life outside of football instead of the game. Jones told reporters that Brent’s recent failed drug tests didn’t affect his support of the player.
“I promised Jerry’s mother that we would support Josh in every way we could,” Jones said. “That’s been our only thought since the accident is to support him and support our team in their support of him.”
The Cowboys at the end of last season put Brent on the reserve non-football injury list. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello indicated the league would not punish Brent now that he was stepping away from football.
“With his retirement, there is no action for us to take at this point,” Aiello said.
One of Brent’s attorneys, George Milner, said the retirement has no effect on the criminal case. Prosecutors declined to comment.
NFL suspends Colts TE
INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts tight end Weslye Saunders has been suspended eight games without pay after violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
League officials did not say Thursday what substance was found in Saunders’ test. He can practice with the team during training camp and can play in preseason games. He won’t be eligible again until Nov. 4.
It is the third time in less than a month that a Colts player has run into off-the-field trouble.
In June, the league announced receiver LaVon Brazill was suspended four games for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. And earlier this month, backup safety Joe Lefeged was arrested in Washington on a gun possession charge. He has not been disciplined by the league.
Saunders had two receptions for 15 yards last season in Indy.
No charges against 49ers’ LB
SAN FRANCISCO — The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office says it won’t pursue assault charges against San Francisco 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks because of insufficient evidence in the case.
Assistant District Attorney Karyn Sinunu-Towery said Thursday that Brooks will not face prosecution after further investigation into allegations that Brooks repeatedly hit a teammate on the head with a beer bottle in a June incident.
The district attorney’s office said early this month there was no arrest warrant for Brooks after one initially had been filed erroneously.
According to police, Brooks hit teammate Lamar Divens with the bottle three times and then punched him in the face during an early morning argument on June 8. The alleged attack left Divens with a 3-inch cut on his forehead, according to police statements.
Jaguars, draft pick come to terms
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars and sixth-round draft pick Josh Evans agreed to terms Thursday on a rookie contract. The last of the team’s eight draft picks to be under contract, the safety from Florida is expected to sign Monday. Under the rookie slotting system, he should get a signing bonus around $130,000.
With Evans agreeing, Jacksonville won’t have any rookie holdouts when camp begins next Friday. The Jaguars have dealt with holdouts each of the last five years, beginning with defensive end Derrick Harvey’s 33-day absence in 2008. Left tackle Eugene Monroe, defensive lineman Tyson Alualu, quarterback Blaine Gabbert and receiver Justin Blackmon also failed to report on time.
Evans finished his college career with 154 tackles, five interceptions and 3½ sacks.